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More than one in 10 babies born to mothers who smoke

18 June, 2015: New figures published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 11.4 per cent (2) of pregnant women were recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth (3) in 2014-15, representing 70,880 out of 622,640 maternities (4).

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional data are available within this report

The latest figure is lower than in 2013-14 (12.0 per cent), continuing the steady decline from 2006-07 (15.1 per cent) to become the lowest on record.

Since data were first collected in 2006-07, the number of maternities has risen by 3.6 per cent (from 601,260), whilst the number of women recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth has fallen by 22.0 per cent (from 90,890).

Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery is a quarterly and annual report, which gives a picture at Commissioning Region, Area Team and Clinical Commissioning Group level.

The report shows wide regional variation in the 12 months to March 2015:

  • Durham, Darlington and Tees Area Team recorded the highest prevalence, with one in five women (19.9 per cent) reporting that they were smokers at the time of giving birth. This compares to the lowest prevalence of one in 20 women (4.9 per cent) in recorded by the London Area Team.
  • Amongst clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS Blackpool recorded the highest prevalence at 27.2 per cent and NHS Central London (Westminster) recorded the lowest prevalence at 2.1 per cent.
  • Of the 211 clinical commissioning groups in England, 43.0 per cent (90 out of 211) have met the national ambition to reduce rates of smoking throughout pregnancy5 to 11.0 per cent or less by the end of 2015.
  • Of the four Commissioning Regions, all of London's CCGs (32) met the national ambition. This was followed by the South of England (28 out of 50 CCGs), and the Midlands and East of England (20 out of 61 CCGs). The North of England had the lowest proportion of CCGs to meet the national ambition (10 out of 68 CCGs).

pdf icon Map of women known to be smoking at time of delivery by Clinical Commissioning Group in England, 2014-15 [110kb] 

The full report is at:


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. Percentages have been rounded to one decimal place; figures over 10,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  3. The 'time of giving birth' is the definition given in this report to the time of delivery.
  4. The number of maternities is defined as the number of pregnant women who give birth to one or more live or stillborn babies of at least 24 weeks gestation, where the baby is delivered by either a midwife or doctor at home or in an NHS hospital (including GP units). This count is the number of pregnant women, not the number of babies (deliveries). It does not include maternities that occur in psychiatric hospitals or private beds/hospitals.
  5. Reducing smoking during pregnancy is one of the three national ambitions in the Tobacco Control Plan published in March 2011. Whilst Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery collects data about the number of pregnant women recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth, these data are used as a measurement against the national ambition. More information about the national ambition can be found in the publication Healthy Lives, Healthy People: a tobacco control plan for England (Department of Health, 2011):
  6. Smoking status is unknown for some maternities and therefore caution should be used when making comparisons with earlier periods and between CCGs.  At a national level, the number of maternities with an unknown smoking status represented 3.0% of all maternities in 2014/15 compared to 1.4% in 2013/14. The proportion of unknowns at CCG level is more evident and exceeded 10% in 15 CCGs in 2014/15.
  7. For media enquires or interview requests please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888. Please note the change to our media line number.
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